I wrote last year about the 600th anniversary of The Paston Letters, which will be celebrated in 2018.
An ideal introduction to this medieval family can by found in a post on a Norfolk medievalist’s blog, in a post entitled “The Pastons in Norwich”
The blog is beautifully illustrated, and contains ample reference material. To whet your appetite, here’s the opening paragraph, with illustration:
“The story starts with Clement Paston (d1419), from the village of Paston about 20 miles north-east of Norwich. He was “a good, plain husband” whose lowly station in life was illustrated by the fact that he had to ride, “to mill on the bare horseback with his corn under him” [quote from The Paston Letters]. Clement’s humble origins, probably as a bondman not entitled under feudal law to own land, were to be used against his descendants as they rose to prominence.
Lovely, isn’t it!
The post goes on to illuminate how the Pastons rose to great heights from humble beginnings, only to fall again in later centuries.
In similar fashion, the Thorpe family achieved eminence, only to fade away. The Thorpes died out in 1392, when the Tower passed to a cousin. By 1502, this branch of the family sold the Tower in 1502 to the Fitwilliam family.
Image: Courtesy BL Harley 3244